Although brushing and flossing can remove food particles and plaque from smooth surfaces of teeth, they can't always get into the groves of the chewing surface of the back molars. Sealants can help protect these vulnerable areas from tooth decay.
Children and teenagers are obvious candidates for sealants, but adults can also benefit from sealant placement. Children should ideally have sealants placed on their permanent and pre-molars as soon as these teeth come in. This way, the sealants can help protect the teeth immediately, before they have a chance to decay, in the most cavities prone years of ages 6-14.
Applying sealants is a simple and painless process and does not involve drilling or removing tooth structure. First, the teeth that are to be sealed are cleaned thoroughly. Each tooth is then dried and a cotton or other absorbent material is placed around tooth, to keep the tooth surface dry. An mild acid solution is then placed on the chewing surface of the tooth to roughen up the surface slightly, to help the sealant material bond to the tooth. After a few seconds, the tooth is then rinsed and dried completely. The sealant material is then painted on the tooth enamel and a special curing light is then used to help the sealant harden and complete the sealant bond directly to the tooth.
Sealants can protect teeth for years, but they do need to be checked for chipping or wearing at your regular dental checkups. Our office will maintain your sealants for no-charge at your regular check-up appointments. Sealants are one part of a total preventative dental care. A complete preventative program also includes fluoride, twice-daily tooth brushing, flossing, wise food choices and regular dental check-up and cleanings.
Sealants are a very affordable and a great way to help protect your teeth for your lifetime. Decay damages teeth permanently. Sealants can help protect them. Sealants can save time, money, and the discomfort sometimes associated with dental fillings. Many insurance companies will cover the cost of sealants for children and teenagers.